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NHC Commissioners will consider adding $5.6 million elections facility to government center redevelopment

Rendering of proposed Board of Elections facility.
New Hanover County
Rendering of proposed Board of Elections facility.

If approved, the new facility will include offices and a polling site, located adjacent to the county’s new government center, which is currently wrapping up construction.

At their Monday meeting, New Hanover County commissioners will consider a roughly $5.6 million budget amendment to the existing development deal to build a new government center.

The amendment will fund a new facility for the New Hanover County Board of Elections, which moved out of the old government center ahead of its redevelopment. Since then, elections staff and board meetings have been operating out of the Northeast Library on Military Cutoff Road.

Major components of the $5,594,881 projected project cost include $4,805,632 in construction expenses, $422,278 dollars for design and engineering costs, and $236,404 in project management fees.

With commissioners’ approval, developer Cape Fear FD Stonewater LLC will expand on its project to redevelop the former Marketplace Mall, which was built in 1989 and taken over by the county between 2002 and 2006.

That original project involved the demolition of the current county offices, the construction of a new multipurpose facility which includes an emergency operations center and 911 facility, and the sale of some of the land for private development. The deal with developer Cape Fear FD Stonewater was finalized in the spring of 2021 with a price tag of roughly $46 million, plus $2.5 million in developer fees.

The initial proposal would have used a lease-to-own model, but under pressure from the Local Government Commission to save an estimated $20 million, the countyreworked the deal to directly finance its new facility.

Below: Proposed amendment for Monday's meeting.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.